Ride it Out: March Cycling Event

To mark the month-long cycling event Ride it Out, here is another opportunity to read an article first published back in the summer, when I caught up with alumnus, photographer and lockdown cyclist Simon Fenton. He shared his three favourite rides starting close to campus. You can take part in Ride it Out by choosing cycling as your daily exercise like Simon, and logging your rides on the Ride it Out platform

Photographer and BA Politics alumnus Simon Felton has long been inspired by urban regeneration: old ways leading to new developments; burgeoning nature in the built environment; places for people to enjoy. Exploring his city on two wheels? That is a recent passion gifted by coronavirus lockdown, when Simon fetched his trusty bike from the back of the shed.

Cycling suddenly made sense. He could take exercise outdoors, reconnect with his neighbourhood, and uncover hidden gems further afield. He now rides two or three times per week, capturing the summer sights with his stunning photography. Here are three of his favourite explorations, the routes of which are on this map.

If you want to get into cycling, the university offers plenty of support to budding bikers.

1. Harborne’s housing history

5 miles

This route travels through Harborne via the Harborne Walkway, formerly a local railway and now a beautiful wood-shaded route, and taking in John Nettlefold’s Moor Pool Estate and the manicured open space of the Calthorpe Estate.  The astronomer’s mural at Oak Close is a must-see. Starting and finishing near the Birmingham–Worcester canal, this route is easily extended.


Sir Richards Drive lawns

Immaculately cut grass at Sir Richards Drive.

Mural in Harborne

Street art on wall of Oak Close.

2. Green spaces and blue tarmac

5 miles

 A route under leafy canopies and starting and finishing on the blue tarmac of the new A38 cycle route, taking in the beautiful Cannon Hill Park, and a view of the Rea valley and the city from near the middleway. 

Bristol Road cycle path

Blue cycle superhighway, with green canopy above.

Three trees in Cannon Hill park

A quieter Cannon Hill Park, donated to the city by Louisa Ryland.

Brum from Balsall Heath

City view from Balsall Heath Road.


3. Smethwick loop

12 miles

A jaunt along the canal from Brindleyplace to Smethwick and through Bearwood to the Edgbaston Reservoir.

 Thomas Telford's aqueduct

Iron aqueduct 1825 constructed by Thomas Telford.

Resevoir path

Wooded section by the reservoir.

 Port Loop from reservoir

 The new Port Loop development from the reservoir.


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